New Team Members and a New Year: A Preview for 2017

At Upstream we have been gearing up for a productive new year and have been steadily building our team to get the job done.  We are anticipating several new projects just over the horizon. You can be looking out for:

  • A podcast that will be here before we know it
  • Practical, affordable e-books exploring different Sending Church Elements
  • Online classes designed for churches that will launch this fall

The New Faces at Upstream

In the past, The Upstream Collective has been a mosaic of leaders scattered all over the world. In 2016 Upstream finally established an office in Louisville, KY. We thank God for the those he has brought us with their particular gifts, and we’re excited to see where God will take us together. So who is joining the team?

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Name: Amanda May

Where did you come from? Louisville, KY. I have never lived anywhere else. I’m particularly passionate about the St. Matthews area.

How did you connect with Upstream? Larry introduced me to Upstream. He and Susan are great examples to me.

What do you do for Upstream now? Editing e-books for publication.

What passion has God given you? What do you dream about? What are you pursuing?

God has gifted me with writing and editing skills. I dream about writing a novel one day. Our family is also passionate about adoption. We adopted our oldest son and would love to do it again one day.

What's your preferred coffee and/or coffee shop? I like any and all coffee. As long as it has cream, I’m happy.


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Name: Andy Jansen

Where did you come from? I hail from the glorious land of Arkansas. I came to Louisville, KY to pursue a seminary education at Southern Seminary, but I keep getting distracted by things on the side.

How did you connect with Upstream? I was sent out for a year by Sojourn Community Church to work among Himalayan peoples in Asia. I connected with Zach Bradley when I returned and shared my desire to contribute to good missions conversations.

What do you do for Upstream now? I am the Content Manager and a writer for the Upstream blog.

What passion has God given you? What do you dream about? What are you pursuing?

I am passionate about the mission of God through the local church. I dream about being part of a healthy church plant, which in turn might send me or others to plant internationally.

What's your preferred coffee and/or coffee shop? I like to drink espresso, cappuccinos, and black coffee, and I like to drink it at Sunergos Coffee. Recently I’ve been slamming Starbucks K-Cups in the morning, but that’s more of a habit than a preference.


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Name:  Debbie Arthur

Where did you come from?  Philadelphia, TN (blink your eyes and you will miss it when driving through, ha, ha!)

How did you connect with Upstream?  Debbie Stephens. Our husbands have been friends and traveled together several years ago.

What do you do for Upstream now?  Financials.

What passion has God given you? What do you dream about? What are you pursuing?

For many years, I’ve wanted to do financials for several small businesses.  That dream is slowly coming true.  After many years of the corporate world, I knew I would enjoy businesses where there was more input by people (or employees), rather than reports.

What's your preferred coffee and/or coffee shop?   Sorry, not a coffee drinker.  I get my morning caffeine by drinking a good ol’ Coca-Cola.


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Name: Randi Smalley

Where did you come from? Somerset, KY.

How did you connect with Upstream? I connected with Zach Bradley via School of Missions at Sojourn Community Church.

What do you do for Upstream now? Research.

What passion has God given you? What do you dream about? What are you pursuing?

It always tugs at my heart strings when I consider those who have never heard the full gospel in an understandable and culturally applicable way. The thought of such soul-saving truth being unavailable to them has ached me since childhood. Today I am preoccupied with being a Christ-like parent to my young daughter, and seeking to love, honor, and share my “First Love” with others.

What's your preferred coffee and/or coffee shop? Hot tea! Or sometimes a vanilla latte at Quills Coffee.


Name: Tabitha Mead

Where did you come from? I was born in Columbia, MO but grew up in a tiny town in the Texas Panhandle (White Deer). I moved to Louisville in 2015 for a Christian, social-justice internship with Love Thy Neighborhood and decided to stay here once I was finished.

How did you connect with Upstream? I connected with Upstream through a mutual friend, Jesse Eubanks, my former boss at Love Thy Neighborhood, who has known Zach Bradley for years. I'm super grateful Zach and Larry asked me to join the team and for the ways they've helped me to grow professionally and spiritually. 

What do you do for Upstream now? I'm the Media Manager. Basically, I oversee Upstream's social media presence. I am also helping develop a podcast, and I produce various videos and graphics. 

What passion has God given you? What do you dream about? What are you pursuing?

God has given me a passion to tell other's stories. I dream about working on documentary films that shed light on injustice and can act as a catalyst for change. I also love radio/podcasts as a medium and look up to people like Ira Glass and CNN films and TV. 

What's your preferred coffee and/or coffee shop? I've noticed myself changing my go-to coffee shop every so often, but I live close to Sunergos on Preston, which is also probably my favorite coffee out of the local shops. If I don't just get plain coffee, I usually have a cafe au lait or an iced americano.


A Special Thank You

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Thank you, Debbie Stephens, for all your hard work and service to Upstream over the past few years.

Debbie joined Upstream in 2010 and helped with coordinating Jet Set trips, equipping teams for cross-cultural ministry. She is the Founder and President of Equipped To Go, a non-profit organization that serves local churches and other non-profit organizations in equipping sent-ones. 

Debbie helped do our finances for the past several years, a much needed service we could not have done on our own. We pray that God establishes the work of your hands in everything he leads you to do.


They say if you want to go fast, go alone, and if you want to go far, go together. I suppose if you want to go both fast and far, you have to pray to God. We pray that God takes us in exciting, new directions this year, and we can't wait to see what is in store.

Photo credit: Unsplash